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  • Writer's pictureMichael McEntee

The lifestyle changes that can cut type 2 diabetes risk

The four areas of treatment to focus on are: food, movement, stress and sleep. Problems in these areas can all contribute to the development of insulin resistance.


One of the main changes is to cut out highly processed junk food. Because of insulin resistance, you are unable to efficiently process foods that quickly convert to sugar in your body, so it is advisable to eliminate refined carbohydrates in your diet such as sugary breakfast cereals, white rice and ultra-processed bread. Rather, increase your intake of healthy, natural fats such as avocados, nuts, and olives as well as healthy protein sources such as salmon and anchovies.


When you have trouble sleeping you’ll contribute to a feeling of exhaustion. However, sleep deprivation can also cause insulin resistance. Like many of us, being glued to our smartphone every evening is a bad habit. This late-night usage can cause major sleep issues. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Light - The blue light emitted from smartphones is not seen in nature in the evening. This blue light can suppress your body's melatonin levels, a critical hormone that gets you to sleep.

  • Switching off - An inability to switch off is one of the biggest causes of sleep disruption. Staying "on" while mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds and emails is a sure-fire way to keep your mind active. This in turn can affect your sleep.

It’s advisable to switch off all electronic screens at least one hour before going to bed.

Small changes like these can have an immediate impact – with improved sleep and subsequent energy levels increased.

Exercise and stress

Your energy reserve is a bit like a bank account - you cannot keep making withdrawals without going into an overdraft facility. If a hectic busy life and schedule results in little energy reserve being left, simply doing too much and adding, for instance, a demanding exercise regime on top, will actually put more stress on your body. This is a common problem these days - we have been conditioned to think that more exercise is always better. Think out of the box, perhaps swapping intense workouts for yoga, a more restorative practice. A simple switch can be life changing. At the end of your yoga session, it’s likely you’ll feel you’ve worked out but also feel rejuvenated and energised. Especially, if it’s the only "switch off" time you have all week.

By addressing these four areas of health - food, movement, sleep and stress – we can offset a sense of reaction to treatments that are only delivered once you have a disease.

It is argued that we need to be much more proactive at recognising and treating problems early on. The notion of progressive medicine is where the future of healthcare is preventive and personalised.

Extracts taken from Dr Rangan Chatterjee from

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